5 Important Books About African American Feminism

Women, Black Feminism and Feminist Theory

Alice Walker 1989
Alice Walker 1989. Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

Feminism in the 1960s and 1970s made a difference in the life of women in the United States, but the women's movement is often remembered as being "too white." Many black feminists responded to the women's liberation movement and the cries of "sisterhood" with writings that critically analyzed the "second wave" of feminism or provided missing pieces of the puzzle. Here is a list of five important books about African-American feminism:

  1. Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks (1981)
    The important feminist writer bell hooks responds to racism in the second-wave feminist movement and sexism in the Civil Rights movement.
  2. All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave edited by Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott and Barbara Smith  (1982)
    Racism, the feminist “sisterhood,” myths about women, Black consciousness, history, literature and theory combine in this interdisciplinary anthology.
  3. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose by Alice Walker (1983)
    A collection of nearly 20 years of Alice Walker's writing about the civil rights and peace movements, feminist theory, families, white society, black writers and the “womanist” tradition.
  4. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (1984)
    An eye-opening collection about feminism, transformation, anger, sexism and identity from the marvelous poet Audre Lorde.
  5. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought edited by Beverly Guy-Sheftall  (1995)
    This collection includes the philosophies of black women from the 1830s through the turn of the 21st century. Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells-Barnett, Angela Davis, Pauli Murray and Alice Walker are just a few of the writers included.